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The Digital Dilemma: An Old-School Marketer’s Unsuccessful Foray into TikTok

If you told my younger self, back when I was starting out in marketing in the pre-digital era, that one day I would be attempting to entertain myself and connect with others through 60-second videos on a platform called ‘TikTok’, I might have laughed. Yet, here I am, a seasoned marketer, deep into the digital age, who promotes the usage of apps like TikTok for brands and influencers, but finds it ‘mind-numbingly stupid’ for personal use. Here’s my story.

The Dive into TikTok:

I pride myself on being an early adopter of technologies and have leveraged this throughout my career. However, my personal experience with TikTok was less than fruitful. My venture into TikTok was primarily driven by two factors:

1. Curiosity: Being a marketer, I wanted to see firsthand what all the buzz was about.

2. Relevance: To stay relevant, I thought it wise to personally test the platforms I recommend.

My Personal Experience:

Sadly, my TikTok journey was far from satisfactory. Here are some reasons:

1. Incessant Scrolling: The never-ending flood of content, most of which was far from meaningful or engaging to me, felt like a black hole of time.

2. Low-Quality Content: I found a significant portion of the content to be frivolous or lackluster. While the platform has its fair share of creative and educational content, finding it amidst the noise was challenging.

3. Generational Gap: As someone in their 40s, I felt somewhat out of place. It’s clear the platform caters more to a younger demographic.

4. Lack of Privacy: The sheer volume of data TikTok collects and its aggressive algorithm were unnerving.

Lessons Learned and Reflections:

Despite my unsatisfactory experience, I’ve taken a few lessons and made some observations:

1. Target Demographic Matters: TikTok’s user base leans towards the younger side. If you don’t identify with this demographic, your experience might be less enjoyable.

2. Quality Over Quantity: The deluge of content on TikTok only reinforced my belief that quality should always prevail over quantity.

3. Digital Fatigue Is Real: My experience served as a reminder that it’s okay to step back from new platforms if they contribute to digital fatigue.

4. Professional Use ≠ Personal Enjoyment: Just because a platform is useful professionally doesn’t mean it will provide personal satisfaction.

While TikTok may be a powerful tool for marketers, influencers, and brands, it’s not for everyone. My attempt at diving into the TikTok world was less than enjoyable, but it taught me valuable lessons about digital consumption, personal space, and the importance of being selective about the platforms I engage with in my personal time.


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